lawsuit alleges hospital failed to treat patient who later died of a heart attack in the waiting roo

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Unfortunately, nothing is a given these days when it comes to medical care. Many hospitals eager to put profits over people are now dedicated to reducing medical staff, and cutting costs in other equally dubious ways while still keeping the patient load virtually unchanged. Of course, this translates into an overall lower standard of care and, even worse, potentially deadly medical negligence.

Consider a recent case where a 38-year old man was found dead in the lobby of an emergency department and had been sitting there for so long that rigor mortis, meaning the stiffening of the muscles of the body after death, had already begun.

According to a lawsuit filed by the family of the man (we’ll refer to him as “Melvin”), he began suffering chest pains on June 26, and called 911 for medical assistance. The responding paramedics took Melvin to a nearby medical center for treatment at around 5:30pm, noting that he was showing symptoms “consistent with an impending cardiac event.”

The lawsuit goes on to state that Melvin was discharged from the ER shortly after his arrival despite having had an abnormal EKG and was only given instructions to see his cardiologist.

Melvin eventually called a friend to pick him up at the hospital, but was unable to secure transportation and went to the ER lobby to wait. During this time, he suffered a fatal heart attack and went unnoticed by hospital staff until the following morning, according to the lawsuit.

“The decedent’s lifeless body remained in the emergency room waiting area until he was found the next day,” reads the complaint.

The lawsuit goes on to conclude that Melvin was soon pronounced dead by hospital staff and that rigor mortis had already set in.

Melvin’s family is accusing the hospital of both medical negligence and wrongful death, asserting that he should have been admitted for observation given his symptoms and medical history.

Tragic stories like these highlight what can go wrong when hospitals fail to provide the necessary care and are perhaps more concerned with their revolving door policy than patient safety. Remember to consider consulting with an experienced legal professional if you or a loved one has been harmed by flagrant hospital negligence.

Source: The News Journal, “Family blames Beebe in death,” Sean O’Sullivan, Sept. 21, 2012

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